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Joplin Police say Crash Numbers down for Beginning of 2014 - KOAM TV 7

Joplin Police say Crash Numbers down for Beginning of 2014

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Joplin police say it's a sign of safer driving. The number of vehicle crashes for January and February is at its lowest in decades.             

Crashes are down at even some of Joplin’s busiest intersections like 7th and Main and also along Range Line. Police say a big difference is how people are reacting to enforcement and education.

Corporal Dan Haskins with the JPD Traffic Division says, “We're aware, when we see an officer having a  vehicle stop, we pay more attention to our driving. And we think that has a direct result of reducing our crashes.”

Haskins says officers don't have to be writing a ticket to make an impact. He adds safety campaigns like a current push to make people aware it is  motorcycle season,  help too.

Haskins says, “It come down to, we have to be more observant more aware of  our surroundings. And be good defensive drivers, expect people to be in our blind spots.  If I assume someone’s in mind blind spot, I’m more likely to look over my shoulder before i make a lane change or make that turn from an intersection.”

Besides enforcement and education Haskins credits engineering.

The police and MoDoT believe lowering range Line speeds to 40 miles per hour prevents crashes.

Senior traffic studies engineer Dave Taylor says, “You have a better reaction time. You're not going as fast, so if you see somebody stopped in front of you, you have a little more time.”

MoDoT combines driveways in new developments to minimize vehicles entering and exiting Range Line.

And lights are being programmed to create a green light  flow on east 7th Street, while other intersections have time delays. 

Taylor says, “There 2 to 4 seconds of red time that the whole intersection doesn’t move. It just gives enough time to clear out that intersection.”

In February there were 108 crashes across the city, the lowest number police have recorded in decades and Haskins says it benefits all.

“Its ultimately all about money. As consumers of insurance, we all have to have our insurance and  if we're driving  safer and our community is safer,  it will lower our insurance rates. So it ultimately helps our pocket book.”

And with spring just around the corner police say it’s  really  important to keep an eye out for those  motorcycles which will be more abundant as the weather warms.

Haskins says the traffic unit increased in size after a 2006 sales tax passed.

But the department  also maximizes resources with DWI officers, and crime free housing teams which also make traffic stops.
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